Jets bolster secondary, bring home Wilson at 29 [UPDATED]
The rich get richer, courtesy of a Jersey boy.
The New York Jets added yet another weapon to their league-leading defense Thursday night, selecting Boise State cornerback and former Piscataway High School standout Kyle Wilson with the 29th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The 5-foot-10, 195 pound Wilson adds superb coverage skills and athleticism to a Jets secondary which already features two Pro Bowlers in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.
“It honestly couldn’t be any better,” said Wilson, on playing with Revis and Cromartie. “I’m looking to learn as much as I can from them and push them. It’s just going to be a great competition. Those guys have been playing well for years and I look forward to playing well as well, but learning as much as I can from them. I don’t think it could be a better situation.”
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum stated Thursday night that Wilson will start at the nickelback position and compete on special teams for the punt return job.
The former Bronco was considered by many draft experts to be the best coverage corner in the draft pool, excelling at using his speed and strength to jam receivers off the line of scrimmage. Wilson also figures to aid Gang Green in the return game, an area at which he excelled at the college level.
“I definitely think I’ll fit in well,” Wilson said. That confidence about (Coach Ryan) and that sense of really having fun and loving the game of football. It’s really that connection between the two of us that seems to be perfect.”
The Piscataway native tallied 159 tackles and 11 interceptions over his four-year career at Boise State. During a senior campaign in ‘09, in which he was named a mid-season All American by The Sporting News, Wilson recorded a collegiate career-best 42 tackles and picked off three passes, two for touchdowns. Wilson was also one of twelve semifinalists for the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award, which is given out to the best defensive back in college football.
In speaking to reporters late last night, Wilson revealed that he first received a call from the Minnesota Vikings, who planned to take the corner with their pick at 30. However, Mike Tannenbaum and company had other ideas.
“It’s funny because I was on the phone with the Vikings,” said Wilson. “I don’t know if they were trying to hold me on the line, but I got a call, and then somehow the phone hung up. Then, I got another call and I ended up talking to Rex Ryan and it was a whirlwind at that point. I really just couldn’t believe that this was happening.”
New York nabbed Wilson, one pick before Minnesota,at 29. As a result, Minnesota traded out of the first round, shipping their pick to the Detroit Lions. Detroit selected California running back Jahvid Best at 30.
“He was the best player on the board, said Tannenbaum. “When we were putting our strategy together, I would say that in this case the board and need aligned. Which is from our perspective, that’s the dream scenario where what you feel like what the most pressing need for your team and the best player when you pick align.”
Wilson played his high school ball at New Jersey’s Piscataway High School, a stone’s throw away from Gang Green’s Florham Park facility. At Piscataway, Wilson led the football team to three consecutive state championships and two undefeated seasons in ‘02 and ‘04, earning All-State honors as a wide receiver.
The Jets newest cornerback made it clear Thursday night, that he was happy to be headed home.
“To be honest, I feel like I’m right at home,” he said. “Personally, it was one of the best visits I had. One of the best connections I had (was) with this staff. I couldn’t have dreamt it any better (laughing). I’m feeling pretty surreal right now.”
With the cornerback position now secured, the Jets will most likely address the safety and linebacker positions in the second round of the draft, Friday night. New York owns the 61st pick but does not have a third round selection. The Jets dealt their third round pick to Cleveland in the trade for receiver Braylon Edwards, back in October.